Every time I go on a trip to another country, I always wish I was with my mom. She’s like the coolest mom ever! The problem is I couldn’t take her everywhere I go because of time and financial constraints (and I doubt if she can even live on a sailboat haha!). To make it up to her, I make sure that we travel together every year. This time we headed to everyone’s dream destination, the #TrueNewYorkCity.
New York is probably one of the most sought-after cities by tourists in the USA and probably the whole world. Hello?? Who will ever forget how Chuck Bass looked so handsome in his suit or how Blair and Serena popped up their glam while walking around the streets of Manhattan?! Only Upper East Siders can relate so excuse us while we reminisce and drool about how amazing this series is.
Anyway, there are plenty of things to do in New York. No wonder over 60 million people visit annually and I’m here to discuss why we’re so drawn to it– things to do, places to visit, where to eat and of course, a lot of tipid tips!
What You Can Do Around New York Perfect For 5 Days
- Visit the Empire State Building– Wouldn’t it be lovely to see One of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World? I’m telling you, it’s even more majestic to take the lift up to its observation deck and see the so-called Concrete Jungle including Central Park, Manhattan, New Jersey, Connecticut and even out to Pennsylvania and Massachusetts from the 86th or 102nd floor. (P.S. They say you really haven’t been to New York if you haven’t stepped foot inside this building)
- Take the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus to visit all major attractions– I know some of you might be raising eyebrows by now because this is indeed ‘very touristy’ but let’s get real here– to see the whole New York on foot will take you forever and will cost you blisters, and seeing it using public transportations or Uber will cost you a dime. I honestly think this is the best way to learn about the City with its live narration from a professional guide. With this, you can visit the Empire State Building, SOHO/ Little Italy, Brooklyn Bridge/ City Hall, Wall Street/ Charging Bull, High Line, Madison Square Garden, and many more at your own pace and time. Also, there’s free wifi on board 🙂
- Get The Ride- This is a very exceptional way to see New York City. Here, you’ll be on a bus ride that transforms the city into a stage with its street performances as you go along the 75-minute journey. We really enjoyed this one!
- Enjoy Times Square- There are several things to do at Times Square and some of them are for free– street performances (lots of it!), people watching, and the synchronization of all the billboards from 11:57 P.M. onwards.
- Make time to visit museums- There is no better way of ‘experiencing a country’ than learning about its history. Look back and step into a time machine as you see the galleries in the American Museum of Natural History, Museum of the City of New York, or the Tenement Museum. If you’re more of an artsy person, then you shouldn’t miss the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art.
- Go shopping!- From High-End brands to Flea Markets, you will never run out of things to buy here (so get your cash and cards ready). Also, try to book your flight with the Black Friday Sale to get really good deals!
- Go join a Gossip Girl Tour- For all the Gossip Girl fans out there, you know this cannot be missed!! Go on a tour with Manhattan’s elite and see the most famous filming locations of this series– the Grand Central Terminal, Blair, Serena and Nate’s apartment, Columbia University, and so much more!
- Eat!!!- Whether you like cheeseburgers, steaks, Asian or Mediterranean cuisines. New York has everything! I repeat, New York has everything!!!
We only had 5-days in New York and we didn’t want to spend those days lining up for tickets, getting lost in the metro so we’re really glad to have availed the services of New York Pass and Smart Destinations. They have everything that New York has to offer from attractions, tours, cruises, and activities and all of them could be availed at a discounted price. We saved a lot with them, especially on our much valued time 🙂
Where we Stayed in New York City
Located in the North of Madison Square Park lies this perky hotel. It is ideally situated between midtown Manhattan and downtown. Traveling around from here is really convenient as it has access to multiple subway lines.
The room comes with a Free High-Speed Internet, Complimentary continental breakfast, Complimentary refreshments, Wine & cheese every evening from 5pm-8pm, Bottled water, and Turn-down service. The champagne night is super worth it!
This boutique hotel is located in Manhattan’s Theater District, only a short walk from Times Square. Bryant Park and Rockefeller Center are also a few minutes away on foot. The rooms are vibrant and sophisticated it literally felt like we were princesses and queens!
They also offer daily continental breakfast, free Wi-Fi, and refreshments all day long. They have live piano music on Friday nights and cheese and wine is offered in the evening in the club room. Fresh fruit, biscuits, coffee, and tea are served all day– perfect to soothe your tired body after a long day.
If you’re a fan of museums, then this is the place to be! It is just more than 500 meters away from Rockefeller Center, Central Park, Grand Central Park, and the Museum of Modern Art. This is also ideal for those who love shopping as famous stores like Apple, Tiffany & Co, H & M, Prada, and Nike are just around the corner.
This hotel offers free Wi-Fi, on-site dining, and a gym access card nearby. They have free wine and cheese in the evening, as well as fresh fruit and coffee throughout the day. Yummers!
The room is decorated in a French country style and it certainly looked like we were in the South of France. It is just so gorgeous we loved it!
Tipid Tips (aka The Most Awaited Part)
- Book a Shuttle from JFK to your hotel in Manhattan- This is a lot cheaper than getting an airport taxi if you have a lot of luggage, if not, just take the train!
- Book the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus– If you want to save on time, money, and energy, then you really have to book this. I couldn’t imagine going all around the touristic places on foot or using public transportation especially with my mom who has a hard time walking. This is just the best way to go around New York worry and stress-free! (Booking online with Smart Destinations is a lot cheaper)
- Try to go on a Black Friday Sale- If you love shopping, then you have to be in the US for the Black Friday Sale. Stores offer a lot of deals which you cannot miss!
- Book your attraction tickets online– Not only will you save time, but you’ll also save a lot of money. New York Pass offers a discounted rate for probably every attraction you can think of.
- Look for rooftop bars- Rather than spending cash on an entrance fee, why not spend it on a cocktail with basically the same view? You can try Bar SixtyFive at Rockefeller Plaza.
1. What is the cheapest way to explore New York?
By foot! Haha.
2. Is it good to take the subway? How much is it?
Of course! It’s the fastest and cheapest way to go around and their subway is very efficient. One way fee is $2.75 and you can get a 7-day unlimited pass for subways and buses for $32.
3. Is it safe?
Well, there’s danger everywhere but generally yes. Just like what you are in your home country, always be cautious about everything that’s going on around you.
4. Is it ideal for solo travelers?
Sure! There are plenty of dorm-type rooms where you can stay and there are plenty of things to do you’ll never feel alone :p
5. Do I need a visa to visit New York?
For Filipinos, yes. You’ll need a US Visa.
6. Is there a ride-hailing app that I can use?
Definitely! The most popular are Uber and Lyft.
7. Do you recommend renting a car to go around NYC?
No, unless you are with someone who badly needs a car. Traffic around NYC could be very bad and finding a parking slot could take you hours!
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